Do you think Shooter goes far enough in how sinister some plans are executed in and from this country?
It goes far enough within the framework of the film. It’s not a documentary. If we just focus on the sensationalism for a moment and the action, which is determined by the sensationalism, then it’s a good roller coaster movie. But it’s much more than that. It’s not that simple. We shy away from understanding the complexities that happen. This happens on several levels at the same time. If you think, “One moment registered with me” or “I feel something inside of me other than just a movie and maybe I better go and look up and read other material.” The movie is relevant in some parts because there are a lot of issues right now around the Horn of Africa.
Over the years how have roles changed for actors of color?
Movies have changed over the years. That affects roles that are offered to actors of color. In terms of roles available, black women are still at the bottom when comparing men and women. It also seems that when we talk of an actor of color, we’re describing him or her as a “crossover actor.” One of the problems with the whole process is that we’re 300 million people in the world yet we export our culture across the planet. Often what it does is undermine the development of other cultures and other national identities.
Potentially there are more people of color in audiences than there are of people who are not of color. They’re not demeaning roles for the most part, but if we’re still asking the question, then we’re still dealing with the other problems. We still have to deal with racism; certainly anytime it manifests itself within the industry. What happens in the industry is not inseparable from what happens in the general society. What stories are being told? Who decides what stories are being told, should be told, and are acceptable to be told? In some sense, that dictates our careers.
Is that something your company, Louverture Films, is addressing?
We’re trying to realize a vision of storytelling. How do we now envision ourselves? Where is the balance shift? Where is the paradigm shift? What is the story about? Who are the primary characters? For the most part that is what we attempt to do. Another part is that we try to see ourselves as a part of world cinema.
What do you think about interviews where you talk about your work? Do you think it serves the film? Or do think the work should speak for itself?
It depends on how you want to look at the film. How you want to look at the work itself. If you ask what is my process, my work methodology, then it’s all right. If you’re going to ask me what’s the relevance of the film in today’s world, that is fine, too. I would love to believe that a great deal of the work that we need to do is relevant to what’s happening in the world. It can’t simply be just entertainment. If you look at the great work, the great writers of the past like Shakespeare. His work is not just entertainment. He was commenting on society. Shakespeare was deconstructing power and human frailty. He was making some sort of analysis of his world. If we look at art from the vantage point of that, there’s always a place to comment.